This past summer I planted two Purple Fountain Grass plants that I picked up at one of the local home and garden stores. The last time I planted an ornamental grass was probably seven or eight years ago. That plant lasted several years before it died during a really, really cold winter when temperatures dropped into the low teens and single digits for a period of time. The plants that I bought this time around were Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ in four-inch pots. They were pretty small at the time but once planted they grew much more quickly than I figured they would, eventually reaching a height of about 3 feet with a top spread of about 1½ feet. Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ is apparently considered an annual in this part of the country, but in another month I’ll trim them back to about four inches, then I’ll wait and see if they come back in the spring.
Some of the positives I discovered about this plant are:
- It grows well in full sun and is heat-tolerant
- It’s drought tolerant, surviving solely on rain and harvested rainwater when watering is strictly necessary
- Growth rate is moderate to fast
- The plants grow in nice clumps so they fill in empty areas of the garden
- It’s virtually pest-free
- Even in winter it adds a distinctive color to the garden
- The seed heads are quite beautiful
I really like the way this grass grew and I plan on planting more this summer whether the current specimens come back or not.